Get to Know Your 2012 DOMA Best Jazz and Latin Nominees

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Leading up to our November 10 showcase, we'll be getting you familiar with some of our Dallas Observer Music Awards nominees, either via past features we've done on them, or new ones. You can vote for your favorite acts, venues and more right here.

Best Jazz Act

Damon K. Clark Damon K. Clark might just have the best voice in Texas. Renowned for his virtuoso performances at the Kessler Theater, Clark is quickly building a reputation as an artist who never fails to deliver a truly jaw- dropping performance.

Mora Collective  DC9 first took a look at Mora Collective back in August, touching on the band's attempt to grab a foothold in the Dallas jazz scene. Through the Collective's constant gigging, that foothold seems to have been earned.

Shelley Carrol The Houston-born saxophonist was once a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, a position that led to him traveling the world playing jazz. Currently, Carrol is a part-time band teacher at West Mesquite High, where he shares his knowledge and talent with young musicians in between playing his often packed gigs.

Tatiana Mayfield The University of North Texas product known as "Ladymay" has been making some noise around the area since she was performing with the school's famed Two O'Clock Lab band back in 2009. In July, she released he second album, A Portrait of Ladymay, which might be the best local album put out this year.

Yells At Eels I am neither skilled enough, nor do I posses enough knowledge to sum up how important and influential the Gonzalez brood is. I can say this: A Yells At Eels show is a treat, one that every North Texan should make it a point to experience.

Best Latin/Tejano Act

Conjunto Baraja de Oro They bill themselves as the baddest Conjunto band in the land. This Midlothian-based act has been nominated for three different Tejano Music Awards, and actually took one home back in 2011.

Latin Express  True story: As a kid, my father used to take us to see Latin Express as often as possible. He always stressed they played "real music." I'm still not sure what that meant, but it had to have been a good thing, as the Express has been together since 1974, and had the honor of playing a Presidential Inaugural Ball.

Lily Vasquez The Colombian-born, Plano-based Lily Vasquez first gained national attention when she used sellaband.com (an early predecessor to Kickstarter) to raise over $50,000 from her fans to help make her debut album. Since then, she's been refining her dance-oriented Latin pop.

Mariachi Los Unicos de Greiner The W.E. Greiner Middle School student Mariachi group is the brain child of the school's orchestra teacher, Lupe Vargas, who attended the school in the '90s. A recipient of the Stevie Ray Vaughan scholarship, Vargas started the program as a way of giving back to the community that fostered her love of music. How this hasn't become an American Roots feature, I have no idea.

Mariachi Quetzal The Denton mainstays have been delighting Dan's Silverleaf patrons weekly for years. Brought together by a shared love for Mariachi, this multi-ethnic group has found themselves nominated for numerous awards, and are a featured act at pretty much every local festival.

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